GE workers protest vaccine mandate

SCHENECTADY – Some General Electric employees in Schenectady briefly walked out Friday over the company’s vaccine mandate.

They are upset because they don’t believe they should be forced to get the vaccine. They say they would like to have a testing option.

Around lunchtime Friday, more than 200 GE employees and union members protested. They held up signs voicing their frustration. A few trucks and cars drove by and honked in support.

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If GE employees are not vaccinated by December 8 and do not have an approved medical or religious exemption, they will lose their jobs.

Christopher Depoalo is the business agent for IUE-CWA Local 31. They represent nearly 700 people. He says they are not anti-vax, but do not like the mandate. He also says the workers found out last Friday about the mandate.

Depoalo says they would like more time. He believes if the employees had the option to take part in COVID testing as opposed to getting the vaccine, it would ease their concerns. However, he says it’s very emotional for people right now.

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"When you’re put in this situation, and you don’t have enough time to make this decision, and they’re going to actually terminate you from your job that you’ve had for 20 years, how are you going to support your families? These are good jobs, and we fought very hard to maintain these jobs," said Depoalo.

A similar thing happened Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina, where dozens of GE employees, including factory workers and engineers, protested. Many of the employees there say they want freedom to decide whether they want to get the vaccine.

See GE’s response by watching the video of Jonathan Hunter’s story.

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